Author Archives for Emily Davenport, Managing Editor

About Emily Davenport, Managing Editor

Mummy to Isaac and twins Jasmine and Maisy, and Managing Editor of the Dairy Diary, Dairy Cookbooks and Recipe Diaries. Printmaker too, when I find the time! Cheery, busy and a little tiny bit cheeky.

‘Exercise for fun’ is not an oxymoron

Fitness for fun

Exercise for fun?

As the one always picked last in PE at school, I used to be something of exercise-phobic. I associated sport with humiliation and discomfort.

But now I have become something of a fitness evangelist!

Finding something that I enjoy, feel comfortable doing and can see the benefit from has been a revelation.

And if I can…..anyone can!

My joyful gym just happens to be a local place that runs various different fitness classes. It’s really hard work, but I’ve been made so welcome and had all my tiny successes applauded (not literally, just with a ‘well done mate’) rather than ridiculed that it’s kept me going back. And I feel fitter, healthier and happier as a consequence.

It just goes to show that you just need to find your ‘thing’.

 

From this feature in this year’s Dairy Diary, we explain how….

 


 

How to exercise and have fun!

A large dose of the feel-good factor never goes amiss and one quick way to access it is to get moving. What better motivation is there to maintain suppleness and fitness levels than to have a fabulous time while you’re doing it? Give it a try!

When it comes to exercise, everyone has their likes and dislikes so choosing the right class is essential. There are plenty available and chances are at least one will suit you. Why not give several a try? You may be surprised. Your respiratory system, cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone will be all the better for it, and you’re sure to come out smiling because all that exercise releases endorphins, the happy hormones.

Aerobics, body sculpt or legs, bums and tums do it for some people. Yoga, Pilates and tai chi are all excellent and self-absorbing, improving focus, balance and posture. Classes in the swimming pool help to build strength while putting less strain on your joints since the water provides both resistance and support.

You can get rid of a lot of pent-up emotion, and lose weight, with boxing training, but if letting rip in a less aggressive way is your main enjoyment factor, think about the pleasures of moving to music. Even if clubbing is out of the question, dancing isn’t! It’s fun and sociable, and while you’re gyrating as energetically as you like, you’re getting a seriously good workout.

 

Dancing for fitness

The trend of combining dance and exercise has caught on in a big way

Dance, dance, dance

The trend of combining dance and exercise has caught on in a big way. Getting fit has never been so much fun. Find a Clubbercise class near you and see if you agree. Luminous glow sticks at the ready, cue music and away you go. If you’re not fit before you go, you soon will be. There probably is a routine but under dim disco lighting, no one can see if a shape or two turns out not quite as expected.

Zumba is another where you follow an instructor as best as you can, this time to fast moving Latin rhythms.

For fans of the music of 1930s and ’40s America, swing is the one, made even better if you dress in style – swirly skirt at the ready. Swingtrain classes are billed as ‘high-intensity dance cardio workouts’, but they add ‘suitable for all levels of fitness’ – and everyone has got to start somewhere!

Swing evolved into jive and ceroc and although you need a partner for these, you may well find one at the class since it’s not unusual for people to go on their own.

You definitely need a partner for salsa, which is a mixture of Afro-Caribbean and Latin styles and as flirtatious as you would like it to be.

Tap, line and ballroom dancing are all more structured – you have to concentrate so your co-ordination skills get a workout, too – and if you fancy something really different, give belly dancing a go, especially good for toning deep core, pelvic and hip muscles, or Bollywood style, blending classical Indian dance with hip hop and jazz.

So why not give it a whirl and find out what fun this exercise business really can be? Check websites for classes and availability near you.

Private workout

If you can’t make a class, or prefer not to, there’s no need to miss out. Through the NHS website (NHS Fitness Studio) you can access videos of various exercise workouts, including La Bomba (which is a combination of dance moves set to Latin American dance music, hip hop, Afrobeats and R&B), and belly dancing for beginners.

Try them out in the privacy of your own home. Invite friends round to join in, have a party and laugh yourself fit!

 

WEBSITES

areyoudancing.com

dancenearyou.co.uk

exercisemovedance.org

jazzercise.co.uk

nhs.uk

swingtrain.com

 

 

 

 

Bank Holiday Garden Tricks

Garden tricks

Bank Holidays provide the perfect opportunity for pottering in the garden. And with a little planning and cunning planting, you can create a garden that looks bigger/wider/longer than it actually is.

This feature, from this year’s diary, gives you clever hints on how to make the most of your plot.

 

Garden tricks with colour

Garden tricks

Seeing is believing but can you believe what you see? Whatever the size or shape of your garden, make the most of it by cultivating a few illusions along with your herbaceous borders; and on a practical level, a few other little tricks can help, too.

The eye can be fooled more easily than you may think. If your precious plot falls a tad short of your dreams by being too small, too narrow or just too dull, wising up to a trick or two may make all the difference.

Shapes

How you treat open spaces is one crucial aspect of making the garden appear other than it actually is. A circular lawn, for example, is a good ruse to make a small garden appear to be bigger than its square footage. Two overlapping circles are even better, the bigger one nearer the house to lengthen the garden and vice versa to shorten it.

Garden tricks with pathsIf you can lead the eye up the garden path, in more ways than one, that will help your false perspective plan, too. A straight path that tapers slightly as it progresses away from the house elongates the garden, while a zigzag widens it. Snake a track around your patch, and use paving slabs at jaunty angles as stepping stones, to make the whole garden seem bigger.

Another optical trick is to divide the garden, even a small one, so you can’t see it all at once. Extend the flowerbed into the lawn or have a short row of pots with flowers and shrubs to do the job. Bamboos and ornamental grasses make interesting screens, as do trellises and archways covered in roses or clematis, or jasmine or honeysuckle, or runner beans. If space is not an issue, you could have a designated kitchen garden, play area, rock garden – whatever your special interest may be.

Colours

The rule of thumb is that pale colours appear to be farther away than bright ones, so if bigger is the aim, have vibrantly coloured plants near the house and paler, subtler ones farther away. A back fence stained pale grey or green sends it away, and to enhance the effect, you could position a delicate focal point in front of it, such as a planter or a small garden table and two chairs.

It’s better to avoid having tall or spreading trees or shrubs at the end of the garden because a heavily shaded area there will foreshorten the perspective.

Helpful hints

• For a quick and easy way to keep your flowerbeds going through the season, sink plastic flowerpots in the earth and drop in your plants still in their garden-centre pots. You can change them as you wish.

• Vegetable cooking water is full of nutrients and, once cooled, your plants will love it.

• A couple of times a month, distribute used tea or coffee grounds around acid-loving plants, such as azaleas and camellias, to keep the pH of the soil acidic.

• Epsom salts are a gardener’s friend because of their high magnesium and sulphate content. For tomatoes and peppers, pop a tablespoon in with the soil when planting, then sprinkle around the growing plants. For containers, add a couple of tablespoons to the watering can once or twice a month.

• Use gravel as mulch around drought-tolerant plants, which need good drainage e.g. sedums and other succulents, and alpines.

• Plant thyme between stepping stones or in cracked crazy paving for a beautiful aroma when trodden on. If you prefer your paved areas to be plant-free underfoot, use mortar in the cracks rather than sand, which encourages seeds to germinate.

Pale colours appear to be farther away than bright ones

• To ensure watering continues even when you’re elsewhere, on holiday for instance, make a lot of holes in plastic water bottles, bury them next to the plants in question (top above ground) and fill with water. The water will seep out as the soil dries, and it will reach deep roots rather than surface weeds.

• Install a water butt if you can, and don’t forget to use it – plants much prefer rainwater to the treated variety from a tap.

• Use a permanent marker pen to write plant names on an upturned flowerpot or a stone rather than on a lolly-stick marker because that either goes missing or looks tatty in no time.

• Never lose the run of your garden twine – keep it in an upturned flowerpot with the end poking out of the drainage hole in the bottom.

• Keep a small bed of nettles to encourage ladybirds, which eat aphids. Should any aphids escape to colonize your roses or runner beans, zap them with a solution of washing-up liquid.

• Scrunch up eggshells before composting or they will survive to adorn your flowerbeds.

• Don’t forget to turn the compost to allow air to circulate – ideally once a month – and to keep it moist in dry weather. If the compost is smelly and slimy, add more woody material, cardboard or straw. If it’s dry and doesn’t seem to be rotting, add more greenery, such as grass clippings, or try a commercial activator. If the compost bin turns into a breeding ground for flies, too much moisture and not enough air are likely to be to blame. Add more woody material and turn, and remember to put garden waste on top of kitchen waste to counteract the problem.

Weeds

For some people, weeding is therapeutic and satisfying; for others, it’s not so appealing, in which case, consider ground-cover plants. Mats of foliage and flowers spreading around trees and shrubs save hours of weeding not to mention backache. Ground-cover geraniums and roses, Vinca minor, Alchemilla mollis and Bergenia purpurascens are all attractive options.

Mulch is an effective weed suppressant because light cannot penetrate through it, so stopping the seeds from germinating. Clear weeds first, then spread the mulch over the whole bed and top up each spring. Organic mulches, such as compost, bark and leafmould, are also soil improvers since they gradually rot down. They should be laid to a depth of 10cm (4in); others, such as gravel, stone chippings or pebbles, to a depth of 2.5-5cm (1-2in).

Alternatively, if you just want to kill the blighters but commercial chemicals are off the agenda, pour boiling water on them and excavate with a sharp knife or trowel – or buy an organic weedkiller, although these may not kill the roots. Be careful to avoid plants you don’t want to affect.

 

Garden welliesWEBSITES
bbc.co.uk gardenorganic.org.uk
rhs.org.uk
successfulgardendesign.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe of the Week: Black Forest Trifle

Black Forest Tridle

Trifle recipes remain one of the most popular on the Dairy Diary blog and this delectable version will be no exception.

With chocolate muffins, chocolate custard, black cherries and cream, what’s not to love?

 

Black Forest Trifle 

RECIPE

 


 

Did you know?

The first recognisably modern trifle appeared in the fifth (1755) edition of Hannah Glasse’s, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. She didn’t suddenly invent the recipe. It had been around since Elizabethan times, usually known as “fool”. After Hannah, though, the name stuck – and the layered construction of the trifle stuck.

 


 

#Trifle Recipe

#TripleTested

#RecipeOfTheWeek

Easy meals for fussy children – and they will love them!

Before I became a mum I didn’t realise just how fussy children are!

Despite introducing my children to a wide range of foods, I seem to have raised fussy eaters.

The new Quick After-Work Cookbook has an excellent selection of teatime recipes written specifically with little fussy eaters in mind. Of course, all children are different, but there should be something that appeals to all.

The Children’s Teas chapter features:

  • Fish Finger Tacos
  • Turkey Pittas
  • Tortilla Pan Sandwich
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Mini Muffin Pizzas
  • Veggie Nuggets
  • Pork & Apple Burgers
  • Bacon on Pea Green Fritters
  • Hidden Veg Quorn Bolognese

And all can be on the table within 30 minutes.

 


 

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

This recipe is a firm favourite in our family – with adults and children alike – taken from Quick After-Work cookbook.

GO TO RECIPE

Quick After-Work CookbookTo find out more about this fabulous cookbook click here.

 

 

#ChildFriendlyRecipes

#TripleTested

#QuickRecipes

Brand new limited-edition range coming very soon!

New spring products

For the first time ever, we have a very special spring promotion.

I can’t reveal all just yet but there are some really gorgeous products, exclusively for you.

And I’m sure you’ll love them.

Watch this space…
all will soon be revealed.

 


 

And here is an exclusive new recipe.

It sounds a little unusual, but believe me, it tastes amazing.

 


Caribbean Prawn & Mango Soup

 

RECIPE

 

 

 

#TripleTested

#SoupRecipe

#LimitedEdition

We need your help to design the next Dairy Diary Set

We need your help!

The Dairy Diary Set is becoming increasingly popular with our lovely customers. However, we don’t want to become complacent and are looking to seek your advice to guide us when designing future sets.

We know that many customers buy the set for themselves, and as a gift for family and friends. With so many products to choose from we need your help to design the very best combination that will be of benefit to everyone.

The survey is simple to complete and will take just a few minutes of your time.

Win a cookbook or accessory
We will be giving one lucky respondent a cookbook or accessory of their choice from our website.

Take the survey.

Thank you for your time and support, we do appreciate it.

Emily Davenport
Head of Dairy Diary

Take the survey

 

 

#dairydiaryset

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